Oldsmobile Aurora

Oldsmobile Aurora

Overview
The Oldsmobile Aurora was a full-size sports sedan
Sports sedan
A sports sedan or a sports saloon is a descriptive term applied to a sedan automobile that is designed to look and feel "sporty", offering the motorist more connection with the driving experience, while providing the comfort and amenities expected of a luxury sedan. A wider definition that includes...

 made by the Oldsmobile
Oldsmobile
Oldsmobile was a brand of American automobile produced for most of its existence by General Motors. It was founded by Ransom E. Olds in 1897. In its 107-year history, it produced 35.2 million cars, including at least 14 million built at its Lansing, Michigan factory...

 division of General Motors
General Motors
General Motors Company , commonly known as GM, formerly incorporated as General Motors Corporation, is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and the world's second-largest automaker in 2010...

 and launched in 1995. The Aurora rode on the same Cadillac
Cadillac
Cadillac is an American luxury vehicle marque owned by General Motors . Cadillac vehicles are sold in over 50 countries and territories, but mostly in North America. Cadillac is currently the second oldest American automobile manufacturer behind fellow GM marque Buick and is among the oldest...

-derived G platform
GM G platform (FWD)
The General Motors G platform automobile platform designation was used for front-wheel drive full-sized luxury cars between 1995 and 2003. It is related to the C, H, and K platforms....

 as the 2-door Buick Riviera
Buick Riviera
The Riviera by Buick is an automobile produced by Buick in the United States from the 1963 to 1999 model years, with 1,127,261 produced.A full-size coupé or personal luxury car, the early models of the Riviera in particular have been highly praised by automotive journalists and writers.A common...

.

The Aurora became the high-end sport sedan Oldsmobile powered by a 4 cam 32 valve 4.0L V-8 supplanting the Oldsmobile Toronado
Oldsmobile Toronado
The original Toronado began as a design painting by Oldsmobile stylist David North in 1962. His design, dubbed the "Flame Red Car," was for a compact sports/personal car never intended for production...

 coupe and eventually the Oldsmobile 98
Oldsmobile 98
The Oldsmobile 98 was a full-size automobile and the flagship model of the Oldsmobile division of General Motors. The name first appeared in 1941 and was used again after American consumer automobile production resumed post-World War II...

 in the line-up. The Aurora offered both the V6-powered version and a V-8 powered version from 2001-03.
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Encyclopedia
The Oldsmobile Aurora was a full-size sports sedan
Sports sedan
A sports sedan or a sports saloon is a descriptive term applied to a sedan automobile that is designed to look and feel "sporty", offering the motorist more connection with the driving experience, while providing the comfort and amenities expected of a luxury sedan. A wider definition that includes...

 made by the Oldsmobile
Oldsmobile
Oldsmobile was a brand of American automobile produced for most of its existence by General Motors. It was founded by Ransom E. Olds in 1897. In its 107-year history, it produced 35.2 million cars, including at least 14 million built at its Lansing, Michigan factory...

 division of General Motors
General Motors
General Motors Company , commonly known as GM, formerly incorporated as General Motors Corporation, is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and the world's second-largest automaker in 2010...

 and launched in 1995. The Aurora rode on the same Cadillac
Cadillac
Cadillac is an American luxury vehicle marque owned by General Motors . Cadillac vehicles are sold in over 50 countries and territories, but mostly in North America. Cadillac is currently the second oldest American automobile manufacturer behind fellow GM marque Buick and is among the oldest...

-derived G platform
GM G platform (FWD)
The General Motors G platform automobile platform designation was used for front-wheel drive full-sized luxury cars between 1995 and 2003. It is related to the C, H, and K platforms....

 as the 2-door Buick Riviera
Buick Riviera
The Riviera by Buick is an automobile produced by Buick in the United States from the 1963 to 1999 model years, with 1,127,261 produced.A full-size coupé or personal luxury car, the early models of the Riviera in particular have been highly praised by automotive journalists and writers.A common...

.

The Aurora became the high-end sport sedan Oldsmobile powered by a 4 cam 32 valve 4.0L V-8 supplanting the Oldsmobile Toronado
Oldsmobile Toronado
The original Toronado began as a design painting by Oldsmobile stylist David North in 1962. His design, dubbed the "Flame Red Car," was for a compact sports/personal car never intended for production...

 coupe and eventually the Oldsmobile 98
Oldsmobile 98
The Oldsmobile 98 was a full-size automobile and the flagship model of the Oldsmobile division of General Motors. The name first appeared in 1941 and was used again after American consumer automobile production resumed post-World War II...

 in the line-up. The Aurora offered both the V6-powered version and a V-8 powered version from 2001-03. It was equipped with a 4-speed automatic transmission
Automatic transmission
An automatic transmission is one type of motor vehicle transmission that can automatically change gear ratios as the vehicle moves, freeing the driver from having to shift gears manually...

 with performance algorithm shifting.

Introduction


Since the 1980s GM had wanted a new car to bring new life to Oldsmobile, a car that was "not your father's Oldsmobile"; thus the Aurora was born, with several styling cues taken from the 1960s Oldsmobile Toronado
Oldsmobile Toronado
The original Toronado began as a design painting by Oldsmobile stylist David North in 1962. His design, dubbed the "Flame Red Car," was for a compact sports/personal car never intended for production...

. By the time the Aurora was released, Oldsmobile badly needed the Aurora, in hopes for a comeback of the marque (Oldsmobile sales had plummeted from 1,066,122 in 1985, to just 389,173 in 1992). As a symbol of its clean break from other cars in the lineup, the Aurora bore no Oldsmobile badging or script save for the radio/CD/cassette deck and engine cover. Instead, a new emblem consisting of a stylized 'A' was used, foreshadowing a similar restyling of Oldsmobile's corporate 'Rocket' emblem for 1997.

With the Aurora, Oldsmobile tried to ride the praise of the car by launching other models that borrowed styling cues from the Aurora such as the mid-size Intrigue
Oldsmobile Intrigue
The Oldsmobile Intrigue was a mid-size sedan manufactured from 1998 through 2002 by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors. The Intrigue's design cues were first seen in 1995 with the Oldsmobile Antares concept car...

 and compact Alero
Oldsmobile Alero
The Oldsmobile Alero was a compact car produced by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors from 1999 to 2004.The Alero was introduced in spring 1998 as a 1999 model to replace the Achieva and Cutlass. The Alero went into production on April 6, 1998. All Aleros were built in Lansing, Michigan...

, as well as the redesigned Eighty-Eight, Silhouette
Oldsmobile Silhouette
The Oldsmobile Silhouette and its siblings, the Pontiac Trans Sport and Chevrolet Lumina APV , were a trio of minivans that débuted in late 1989 as 1990 models...

, Cutlass
Oldsmobile Cutlass
The Oldsmobile Cutlass is a line of automobiles made by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors. The Cutlass began as a unibody compact car, but saw its greatest success as a body-on-frame intermediate car....

, and Bravada
Oldsmobile Bravada
The Oldsmobile Bravada is a mid-size luxury sport utility vehicle from the now retired Oldsmobile marque of General Motors. There have been two different vehicles to bear this model name, the first and second-generation GMT330, and the 2002 to 2004 GMT360....

. The Oldsmobile "rocket" logo was even updated to be more in-line with the Aurora's emblem.

Conceptualization


Early design work on what would become the Aurora began as early as the late 1980s and manifested itself with a 1989 engineering concept known as the Oldsmobile Tube Car
Oldsmobile Tube Car
The Oldsmobile Tube Car was a 1989 concept vehicle that was the basis for the eventual 1995 production vehicle, the Oldsmobile Aurora. Despite still going under in 2004, Oldsmobile benefited greatly from the Aurora, which served as the archetype of Oldsmobile design for the next nine years.Many of...

. Beyond the overall similar shape, the Tube Car featured many detailed elements that were later found on the production automobile, including a full-width taillamp, wraparound rear windshield, and frameless windows. Unlike the eventual production car, the Tube Car was of a pillarless hardtop design with suicide doors.

First generation (1995–1999)


After much research and development, the Aurora went into production on January 24, 1994, and was released for the 1995 model year. It hosted a number of luxury and technologically advanced standard features including dual-zone climate control, driver and front passenger airbags, leather seating surfaces, genuine burl walnut interior accents, 6-speaker sound system with in-dash cd/cassette, and 8-way power adjustable front seats with 2-position memory. Only several options were available on the Aurora including heated seats, power sunroof, 12-disc cd changer, and an Autobahn package. An onboard computer displaying the date, current gas consumption, and other information was also standard.


The Aurora also came standard with Oldsmobile's 244 cu in (4 l) L47 V8 engine, a DOHC engine
Internal combustion engine
The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high -pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine...

 based on Cadillac
Cadillac
Cadillac is an American luxury vehicle marque owned by General Motors . Cadillac vehicles are sold in over 50 countries and territories, but mostly in North America. Cadillac is currently the second oldest American automobile manufacturer behind fellow GM marque Buick and is among the oldest...

's 4.6 L Northstar V8
Northstar engine series
The Northstar engine series of automobile engines is General Motors' most technically complex 90° V engine architecture. The family is most associated with Cadillac's Northstar V8, but the family has also seen use at Oldsmobile...

. The Northstar engine and 4T80-E had been exclusive to Cadillac prior to the Aurora. The L47 put out 250 hp at 5600 rpm and 260 lbft torque at 4400 rpm. The Aurora used a 4-speed automatic transmission with driver selectable "normal" and "power" shift modes. A highly modified 650 hp version of this engine was used by General Motors racing division initially for Indy Racing League competition starting in 1995, then was later used in the Cadillac Northstar LMP
Cadillac Northstar LMP
The Cadillac Northstar LMP was a series of Le Mans Prototypes built by General Motors' Cadillac brand for use in the American Le Mans Series as well as an attempt to return Cadillac to the 24 Hours of Le Mans since they first entered in . The Northstar LMPs were named after the Northstar V8...

 program in 2000. Both engines retained the 4.0 L capacity, but the Northstar LMP version was twin-turbocharged.

The Aurora had a drag coefficient
Drag coefficient
In fluid dynamics, the drag coefficient is a dimensionless quantity that is used to quantify the drag or resistance of an object in a fluid environment such as air or water. It is used in the drag equation, where a lower drag coefficient indicates the object will have less aerodynamic or...

 of 0.32.

The Aurora was highly regarded at the time for its refined engine, excellent build quality, well-balanced ride, and structural integrity. In fact, during normal crush-to-failure tests done by automakers to evaluate body rigidity, the Aurora's unibody construction actually broke GM's testing machine. A frame-crusher otherwise used to test stronger truck frames had to be used instead, with the car exceeding federal standards for passenger cars by two times.

First year sales were strong, with the Aurora selling over 45,000 units, but sales dropped dramatically for 1996, as in many cases, buyers were turned away by the large price tag. All first-generation Auroras were built in Lake Orion, Michigan
Lake Orion, Michigan
Lake Orion is a village in Oakland County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 2,973 at the 2010 census. "Lake Orion" is often used to describe both the village and the much larger Orion Township, of which the village is a part....

, along with the Buick LeSabre
Buick LeSabre
1959LeSabre and all other 1959 Buicks not only got new names, but all-new styling as well, adopting the new GM B- and C-body used on all of the corporation's full-sized cars...

, Buick Park Avenue
Buick Park Avenue
The Buick Park Avenue is a full-size car built by General Motors and sold by its Buick division. The nameplate was first used since 1975 as a top trim level of the Buick Electra, and the Park Avenue became a standalone model for the 1991 model year, replacing the Electra...

, Buick Riviera
Buick Riviera
The Riviera by Buick is an automobile produced by Buick in the United States from the 1963 to 1999 model years, with 1,127,261 produced.A full-size coupé or personal luxury car, the early models of the Riviera in particular have been highly praised by automotive journalists and writers.A common...

, Oldsmobile 88
Oldsmobile 88
The Oldsmobile 88 was a full-size car sold by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors and produced from 1949 until 1999. From 1950 to 1974 the 88 was the division's top-selling line, particularly the entry-level models such as the 88 and Dynamic 88...

, Oldsmobile 98
Oldsmobile 98
The Oldsmobile 98 was a full-size automobile and the flagship model of the Oldsmobile division of General Motors. The name first appeared in 1941 and was used again after American consumer automobile production resumed post-World War II...

 and the Pontiac Bonneville
Pontiac Bonneville
The Pontiac Bonneville was an automobile built by the Pontiac division of General Motors from 1957 to 2005. It was introduced as a limited production performance convertible during the 1957 model year...

. Production for this generation ended on June 25, 1999.

Year-to-year changes


1996

For 1996, Oldsmobile made some minor revisions to the Aurora including new rear glass which has less distortion than previous models.
Further revisions include daytime running lights and OBD II compliant On-Board Diagnostic systems, tweaking the climate control and safety alarm, a revised keyless entry system with new features was added, a 12 disc BOSE CD changer was made optional, and the short list of optional equipment was expanded to include Chrome wheels and a gold trim package. The 96-99 models also had the passenger temperature toggle button on the middle right portion of the instrument panel replaced with an air recirculator button.

1997

There were minor changes for the Aurora in 1997. A new in-dash CD player for the BOSE sound system highlighted the improvements. Another new feature was a tilt-down right-outside mirror that enhances the driver's view of close objects, whenever the shifter is placed in reverse.
The underside of the door handles have been slightly recontoured to minimize slipping fingers when the handles are pulled. Seat belt release buttons were moved from the face of the buckle to the end for improved convenience. An electronic compass was added to the inside rear-view mirror. Larger front brakes came along with cast aluminum front control arms and steering knuckles. The rear ashtray assembly was changed from a click-lock face to a pull-up face. Finally, the spare tire cover and jack cradle assembly was changed from the jack and cover being bolted down to one where the jack sat in a plastic "bucket" inside the spare with the cover simply placed on top.
On some 1997's a modest Olds badge returns to the right-rear corner of the car along with the Aurora name.

1998


The 1998 model had a few relatively minor refinement changes to the brakes, suspension, steering and emissions controls. New front control arm design with front hydraulic bushing and rear cross axis ball joint for enhanced ride smoothness and better isolation from road noise and vibration. Internal rebound springs added to front struts for improved body motion control and to minimize crash-through. Increased wheel travel (3 mm) and redesigned jounce bumpers for softer feel at full travel. Dual durometer cradle mounts for improved isolation. Premium valving/damping in front and rear struts for a higher refinement in calibration. New more accurate wheel sensors for improved ABS actuation. New steering calibration for more on-center feel and reduced parking effort.

GM's optional OnStar system available was standard this year uses a dedicated button on the cellular telephone putting drivers in contact with an information center that can provide them with emergency assistance. The system uses no transmitters to determine the vehicle's location and provide route information to any destination.

Almost all of the changes made to the Aurora for 1998 are aimed at refining what was already a superb suspension system. The balance between a smooth ride and precise handling is exemplary, allowing the driver to enjoy some enthusiastic behind-the-wheel activity without upsetting the passengers.

1999

The last year for the original Aurora, changes for 1999 included additional engine mounts for improved engine stability. No 2000 models were produced.

it was named after the greek goddess

Second generation (2001–2003)



Oldsmobile's original intention for the second generation was to move the Aurora further upmarket, retaining its V8-only drivetrain and sharing a platform with the new Buick Riviera, as the original Aurora had done. This would have created more room within the Oldsmobile lineup for a four-door Eighty-Eight successor known as the Antares. However, Buick dropped its Riviera development plans and fiscal trouble found Oldsmobile, so Oldsmobile was forced to re-engineer the Antares into an acceptable Aurora in short time. Still using the G-body design, the re-engineered Aurora was the result, but retaining its 4.0 V8 Northstar still mounted to a 4T80-E.

Oldsmobile also offered a V6 engine
V6 engine
A V6 engine is a V engine with six cylinders mounted on the crankcase in two banks of three cylinders, usually set at either a right angle or an acute angle to each other, with all six pistons driving a common crankshaft...

 in the Aurora for the first time. The V6 in question was the LX5, a cut-down relation of the DOHC Aurora V8, dubbed the "Shortstar." The V6-powered Aurora was produced for the 2001 and 2002 model years only, with production ceasing in mid-2002.

This Aurora, though still a competitive luxury sedan, did not attract the attention, nor sales that the original did. This can be blamed on several reasons. Most of all was that the new Aurora, as well as the new 2002 Bravada, was overshadowed by GM's announcement in December 2000 that the Oldsmobile marque was to be phased out over the next several years. Though still retaining its unique styling, it now shared design cues from other Oldsmobiles, as well many parts in common with other GM vehicles. This took away the "separateness" from other Oldsmobiles that the original had. It should also be noted, that the 2nd generation Aurora was over six inches shorter than was the 1st generation. Automobile
Automobile Magazine
Automobile magazine is an automobile magazine in the United States and is owned by Source Interlink. It was founded by a group of former employees of Car and Driver magazine, led by that publications’s former editor, David E. Davis, and originally published by News Corporation...

 magazine wrote that "The Aurora's new look is not quite as sensuous or elegant as that of the outgoing model," but the Auto Channel review said, "it was better in every respect."

The second generation Aurora went into production on November 1, 1999, and went on sale in February 2000 as a 2001 model. The last V6-powered Auroras rolled off the assembly line on June 21, 2002. The Final 500 Auroras ended production on March 28, 2003. These were all a special burgundy color (called "Dark Cherry Metallic"), had special chrome wheels, and Final 500 badging. The Orion, Michigan plant built a total of 71,722 second-generation Auroras (53,640 in 2001, 10,865 in 2002, 7,217 in 2003).

Engines

  • 2001–2002LX5 3.5 L (212 in³) V6, 215 hp @ 5600 rpm, 234 lbft torque @ 4400 rpm.
  • 2001–2003L47 4.0 L (244 in³) V8, 250 hp @ 5600 rpm, 260 lbft torque @ 4400 rpm.

Production numbers


The production numbers for both generations of the Aurora:
Production Figures by Year:
1995 45,677
1996 22,349
1997 25,579
1998 23,955
1999 18,729
2000-2001 53,640
2002 8,576
2003 7,217
Total 1st Generation 136,289
Total 2nd Generation 69,433
Grand Total 205,722

External links